I've always been an optimist, believe it or not. I
write a lot of outraged rants, but that's because I believe in
fighting back and doing battle with the "Forces of Evil", which in
this bold new millennium are customer-hostile big business and
government all married and happy, at our expense.
These past few days I haven't felt so optimistic. Maybe it's
from being sick (flu bugs really are less fun than they sound), but
I'm starting to think that trying to influence legislators is a
losing battle. Because they keep upping the stakes, and it gets
harder and harder to counter the tidal wave of big money sweeping
over the hallowed legislative halls.
DMCA, Patriot Act, ACTA, and other attacks on free speech and
fair use; the RIAA gets away with statutory damage claims of $750
per "pirated" song and never have to prove actual harm; patents and
"intellectual property" double-talk swallowed and regurgitated
whole by a gullible, uncaring tech press; the MPAA/RIAA (MAFIAA for
short) get to order the makers of DVD-players and home theater
systems to cripple functionality; kids perpetrating unimportant
cracks get felony convictions, while it's OK for Sony to install
rootkits--twice--Amazon can reach into your Kindle and pluck your
books back out; we can't buy the most trivial item without it being
plastered with safety warning stickers, while Microsoft and the
"security" industry continue to get a free pass for their corrupt
symbiosis; Sony can remove features from PS3s years after they have
been sold, Apple has an elite taxpayer-funded police force for
their personal use. Facebook, Google, and hordes of marketing
companies get away with outrageous invasions and abuses of our
personal data and privacies... And on and on...
I still believe in doing what I can: let my legislators know
what I think, which anymore seems to be "I see through your crap,
you don't represent me you bought-and-paid-for-hypocrite." I
support the Electronic Frontier Foundation for their valiant legal
work, and I support the Free Software Foundation because the FSF is
the only organization that maintains a hard line on software
freedom. You think Richard Stallman is icky? Well I think getting
punked by big business is a whole lot ickier.
I'm putting more of my hopes for the future into getting away
with as much as I can. Warrantless spying on my email? Fine, I'm
encrypting all of it. Do they really think they can stop me from
exercising my personal fair use rights? Good luck with that.
Web-surf with Tor, Firefox's Private Browsing mode, and delete
Flash and text cookies every couple of minutes. Support independent
musicians, and who needs mainstream movies? What kind of wussies
keep on feeding the hands that beat them? "Oh I just can't LIVE
without paying my tribute to Hollywood and the MPAA! I have to have
iTunes! I can't live without cable TV! I must have a mobile phone
even though they're screwing me over every minute of every day!"
I boycott all abusive proprietary software companies, and I am
finally learning to program, because if we don't take matters in
our own hands we'll always be at the mercy of merciless interests
who have nothing but contempt for us. (Hey, then we're even,
because I have greater contempt for them.)
What Really Disgusts Me
What really really really disgusts me about these shortsighted,
vicious attacks on everything from the free market to free software
to our civil rights is why they do it-- to sell crap. Not even
necessary crap, just stupid shiny widgets and overpriced crapware.
For deity's sake! What the hell is wrong with people? Messrs.
Gates, Jobs, Rosen, Stringer, Glickman, Bainwol, and all the rest
of you greedy fools who don't care how much earth you scorch in
your insane quests for money and control, I extend
Jon Stewart's invitation to Bernie Goldberg (Warning: not
work-safe) to each and every one of you. Because you earned it.
The Jon Stewart clip is over eleven minutes long; skip to
the 11:00 mark to cut to the main message. Though it's all
Some of the products that appear on this site are from companies from which QuinStreet receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site including, for example, the order in which they appear. QuinStreet does not include all companies or all types of products available in the marketplace.